Subject: Re: Limitations?
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1998/09/13
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Steve Gonedes <>
| The most problematic `limitation' that I think CL seems to face is one of
| efficiency.  While CL is anything but inefficient, when I write a program
| I still, at times (knowing the time seems to be the trick), worry at
| about this efficiency (this may not be true of others of course).

  and even this is no limitation once you learn to operate a profiler.  :)

| Aside from these perhaps, `temporary annoyances', lisp seems to lack an
| incredible number of built in limitations.  I was wondering if anyone
| thought that this `lack of limitations' could possibly be why lisp is not
| `popular'?

  a very insightful observation.

| I say this because the more limitations that something has, the more
| predictable it seems (at least to me it does).  Does anyone think that
| Lisp is unpredictable in terms of how successful an outcome can be?  It
| seems like it could be hard to know how successful a project could be if
| you don't know what limitations you already have.  I'm really saying
| unpredictable because I don't know what other `fears' that a lack of
| limitations could impose a person.

  when something is perceived to have far fewer limitations than oneself,
  all sorts of emotions fill people: awe, intimidation, inferiority,
  insecurity, etc.  we frequently see this in movies and the literature and
  even TV shows that try to portray the future: that which is massively
  smarter than us is supposed to instill emotions that are really _very_
  counter-productive, as if we would suddenly become _useless_ to a smarter
  race, for instance, nothing more than slaves or foodstuff at worst.  I
  don't share this view.  (matter of fact, I think mankind are slaves to
  stupidity, instead.  imagine a world where TV commercials didn't work on
  people!  but I digress.)

  most _religions_ are based on something that has far fewer limitations
  than ourselves: omnipotence, omnipresence, etc, and yet we're supposed to
  _fear_ the gods.  I don't get it.  it would be ultra-cool to meet a god.

  anyway, part of Common Lisp's attraction to me is that what limitations
  there are can be overcome, so programming in Common Lisp keeps me on my
  toes.  I love it.  (not that there haven't been a lot of frustrations,
  but they have all been resolved after a short while.  my frustrations
  with C and C++ only only grew worse over time, and didn't resolve.)

  I'm sure the old saying "I don't like compilers that are smarter than I
  am" is related to the "lack of limitations" idea.  again, good thinking!

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